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2015 | 8 | nr 4 | 191--206
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Social Capital and Polish Students' Behaviour in Experimental Games Designed to Illustrate Cooperation

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Social capital in the form of informal norms and networks of social relationships is an intrinsic element of any society and influences the effectiveness of its economy. For this reason, it is important to understand the relation between individuals' social capital and the behaviour they express in social and economic interactions. Two important elements of social capital are generalised trust and norms of reciprocation. Hence, this article presents results from a study designed to investigate the level of generalised trust and reciprocation among Polish students. In previous studies, a positive answer to the trust question: "Do you believe that the majority of people can be trusted?", has been shown to be associated with cooperative behaviour in the Public Goods Game. Our questionnaire included two novel questions aimed at elucidating students' opinions about what sort of behaviour is most likely to bring success and whether such behaviour is in line with their own outlook. The results of the study presented here indicate that the answer to the first question is a better predictor of behaviour in the two games considered here than the answer to the trust question and one of the possible answers to this question can be interpreted as an expression of generalised trust. Also, when taken together, the answers to these two questions give a more subtle picture of individuals' trust in the general public and institutions. (original abstract)
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